Odd One Out by Nic Stone
*We picked up a copy of Odd One Out at BookCon this year and we’d like to thank Nic Stone and Crown Books for the opportunity to read and review early. This book comes out on Oct 9th and you can get it here.*
“Unrequited Love” , Frank Ocean once pontificated, is “something like a one man cult. It’s cyanide in my styrofoam cup. i can never make em love me.”
He right as shit.
“Odd One Out” really hits the ground running with that energy. holy shit, it feels EXACTLY like high school. Sure the circumstances are different — it was ostensibly cis/het women who wanted to be my bestie and “Drake:no thanks, ew” meme’d my biology and any mention of it, but whatever I don’t have baggage YOU have baggage, RELAX–but the unease is palpable and written, gut wrenching and perfectly awkardly by nic stone. (author’s note: that sentence had a lot of adverbs, my fault)
“Odd One out” is a book about identity making, at the end of the day. It spirals around Courtney Cooper:a fly ass, basketball star, and his bestie, Jupiter, a brilliant, passionate, SJW baddie by all metrics. They been been somewhat (his fault) platonically spooning for like 10 years, and as neighbors, their families are in on it. Coop respects the brakes out of Jupiter, but would also, yanno… nvm lol
live look in at Jupiter and coop (protagonists), spoiler free besties:
Nic Stone gives us mad layers around them in this novel: Jupe’s 2 dads are, well, gay; Coop’s best friend’s are protectively, mostly not problematically mad that he won’t stop loving a girl that can’t love him back (but are high-key the funniest heartwarmingest niggas in the book); when a new girl shows up, and errybody swoons, a whole gamut of beautiful complications spool out from the narrative thread.
having met Nic Stone (and swooned in kind, because have you met her?? sploosh), i feel like i understand some of how this novel works. perhaps that’s how I have a crush on every protagonist in the novel. over and over and– oh wait, a new girl shows up at school? welp, yeah: *hearteyes*– over.
she writes wittily and accurately about what my old ass remembers about tough times, and she excels at complicates them with sexuality issues/discoveries i was privileged enough to not have to deal with. page to page, it’s all Best Friend Things & banter. then in it’s best moments, it’s about claiming and exclaiming an identity and then grappling with the fallout. Stone shows us the quietest, scariest moments of adolescence with a grin, nah, a smirk, and I can’t help but blush and reflect deeply in response.
“Odd One Out” begs us to slow the fuck down as we throw labels and characterizations about LGBTQ+ folx in our lives. some fit, some don’t; ultimately, as cis/hets, it’s none of our business unless someone invites us in. God willing, you’ve got enough good in you to play in the pool.
Rating 4.5/5 vodka sodas. They go with everything
Pairing: mojito. cuz i drank a few one new years and kissed someone i shouldn’t have.